Today, I came across a story that Ohio has a outbreak of the measles. This is due to the anti-vaccination crowd getting their fear out that vaccination causes Autism. With such fears running rampant, all I hear from the Skeptics Guide to the Universe (SGU) of studies that say that it don't cause autism. Yet as they say point out how foolishly the population is not taking their shots, they can't seem to grasp the reason why the anti-vaccination crowd is winning.
The Answer was conveniently pointed out on the SGU, when they played a sound bite of Vani Hari telling her first hand experience on how she removed azodicarbonamide from her diet and she felt better for doing so. So how is the myth that vaccinations cause autism? Because you have first hand accounts from parents telling the world that my kid was normal before he took the vaccine. Now instead of actually investigating the cases one by one, they ridicule them and they pointed out and rightly so how screwed up Andrew Wakefield studies was flawed, but this act is not helping out at all.
First hand experience is a stronger force than any statistic out there and to prove it, here's my experience. I rarely get a flu shot and from my last experience, I reluctantly got one back in 2011. About 2 weeks later, I was sick and missed work for a week. Now I was able to see the doctor and I got an inhaler alleviate my symptoms. But because I missed a week of work and during the busiest time of year, I lost out on money and because of that experience, I will no-longer go buy a flu shot. Now if you give me one for free, sure, I'll take it, but reluctantly because I cannot afford to miss a week of work. I have no proof that the flu shot caused my symptoms, but I can only say well I got this and after I took the shot, well this happened.
Now lets go back to the parents of the children who from first hand accounts have autism because they took a vaccine. You cannot solve this problem with a study, you cannot throw out stastics and say it ain't true because the first hand account, though rare, and probably made up, goes against what those statistics say. Autism is one of those condition as viewed as a killer for kids, He has Autism, well he's simply dead and useless, a drain on the family resources. All these parents know is that before he took the shot, my kid was fine and healthy, he took the shot, and now he's dumb and retarded. And because of these first hand accounts, we now have a measles epidemic going on in the USA.
So how do we solve this problem? We can do what we've been doing over and over again and expecting a different result which saying that these first hand accounts are untrue because we have the statistics, or we can prevent the problem of first hand accounts by providing proof to the parents and giving them first hand experience. My solution is this, before parents take their kids to get shots, we get the kids tested for Autism. With that proof, the parents can build a case if in the off chance that after the shots, they show symptoms of Autism which according to the knowledge that is already out there, quite unlikely. It's that simple, but I don't see anybody going to practice this idea anytime soon.
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